Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Last Minute’s Notice

The phone rang at 8:20 on Monday morning.

I looked at the caller ID and my heart jumped a beat. When the children’s school is calling, the text might as well read, “EMERGENCY: YOUR CHILD”. I don’t know if this happens to other mothers. Being used to having my children ever in my care during my homeschooling years, I am still not completely at ease with entrusting them to others for an entire school day.

I picked up the phone. It was my daughter. “I have cross-country practice after school today,” she informed me. “The teacher said there was an email.”

“Okay honey,” I said, “I’ll be there after school. Have a nice day.”

I hung up the phone and sighed. I had looked for a notice from the team on Friday afternoon and, there being none, assumed I had another week before the season started.

Sundays during track season are very busy, and I often take a day off from the computer. We wake up early for a big pancake breakfast, go to church, drop Baby and Daddy home, and then head to the track for a four-hour meet. We end the afternoon with a backyard barbecue and the usual bedtime routine.

Nothing drives me crazier than last-minute schedule changes. I try not to schedule too much in one day, and then I work my way backwards from the day’s big event to sort out the rest of the day. Now my day’s plans had to be completely rearranged.

In order to be at the school at dismissal, I would have to put the baby down for a nap an hour earlier. That meant she would have to get some outdoor activity and a good breakfast in order to be tired-out enough to sleep. We also would have to fit in a morning trip to the drug store to pick up shock-absorbing athletic inserts for my long-distance runner’s sneakers.

For me, naptime would be taken up by getting together things needed for the other children: a change of clothes, snacks, and pencils to complete their homework. I also had to fetch the cross-country email from my computer, download the attached athletic permission form, and fax it to the school.

I always used to think that things like this only happened to mothers who failed to plan ahead. Mothers had to be on top of things. Those school notices buried on the bottom of the child’s school bag would never happen to me; or so I thought. No sooner than they walk in the door than I am looking in their folders. I even messed that up once this year.

Two Fridays ago, I neglected to look in my son’s folder when he walked in the door. I was on the telephone, and he had a headache. I hung up to tend to his headache, and completely forgot to check for homework. I would discover it at exactly 8:00 Sunday evening, as he kissed me goodnight and I looked in his backpack for his lunch bag. There were some other unpleasantries awaiting me there, including an apple core and empty juice box.

Most of our days our filled with little mundane details such as these. Whenever a wrench is thrown in the works, I have to offer it up to God. Although it is important to plan ahead, the unforeseeables still have to be dealt with. Every time this happens, I have to remember that He is in control.

“The sum of a man’s days is great
If it reaches a hundred years:
Like a drop of sea water,
Like a grain of sand,
So are these few years
Among the days of eternity.
That is why the Lord is patient with men
And showers upon them his mercy.”

Sirach 18:7-9

Pictured above: Haystacks at Giverny, Claude Monet, 1891
This painting is supposedly an impressionistic view of Time.

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